Croydon Conservatives have submitted a requisition for an Extraordinary Meeting of Council to discuss the way forward for the crisis-hit town centre redevelopment scheme.
After six years of Labour stalling, it became apparent at the start of February that Unibail Rodamco Westfield have moved the Croydon redevelopment out of its development pipeline, which in essence means they aren't expecting it to go ahead at this stage (or, most likely, ever).
Croydon Conservatives' Group Leader, Cllr Tim Pollard, says "This is a disaster for our town and represents a real 'Town Centre Emergency'. Visitors to our once-proud town centre are greeted by the decaying hulk of the empty Allders store and wall-to-wall temporary discount outlets in large parts of the high street. The remaining chain stores and Croydon BID are doing their best, but it is impossible to hide the decay at the heart of our retail offer. This is an emergency and the council must step in to stop the rot and show residents what 'plan B' is."
The council is obliged to hold a special council meeting to debate the Conservatives' emergency motion, which reads:
In light of Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (“Westfield”) reporting that it has removed the proposed redevelopment of the Whitgift Centre from its development project portfolio, the following Members of the Council greatly regret the current Administration’s incompetence in losing this opportunity to regenerate Croydon’s Town Centre.
We call upon the Administration to explain what action it will take to resuscitate the Westfield project and what plans it has in the case of the project no longer being viable.
The town centre is now suffering from considerable blight and a much reduced retail offer It is vital that there is a plan in terms of meanwhile use and to encourage the return of a vibrant town centre of which all Croydon residents can be proud.
The council has mentioned several times that it believes it has a viable ‘Plan B’. It is now time it told the people of Croydon what that is.
Signed by Croydon's Conservative Councillors